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Christmas Deals
Well, it became official last week with the government's acknowledgement that the U.S. economy is indeed in a recession. Amidst this, the week's news has been dominated by the bailout being sought by the nation's "Big Three" automakers.

My husband, the financial number cruncher in the family, thinks it's a good time to be buying big ticket items if you've got the money. He is especially eyeing a new pickup, and came home recently and told me that he heard there are good deals on them right now. Due to the economic slowdown, automakers have hardly been able to sell anything, much less a gas- or diesel-guzzling pickup, so he tried to convince me they are offering "buy one, get one free" - wouldn't that be nice, I said.

All jokes aside, we know that not much in this world is "free" anymore, but as we mentioned last month, Campbell's is offering to help the FFA through a special “Help Grow Your Soup” effort. All you have to do is visit and click on the red barn. Campbell's will donate $1 to the FFA for every click. It’s easy and benefits a great youth leadership program. Now that’s a real freebie!

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In The News
Survey seeks input on topic of unwanted horses
The problem of unwanted horses is being studied through a nationwide initiative of the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) with help from equine associations, veterinarians, breeders, state and local law enforcement, horse owners, rescue/retirement facilities and other facilities using horses.

With tens of thousands of unwanted, neglected and abandoned horses in the U.S., some say the problem is a fast-growing epidemic. However, much remains unknown. Currently, there are few documented facts about the accurate number of unwanted horses, their age, sex, breed, recent use, value or what happens to them in the long run. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Strategies for Small Producers
Turning ideas into income By Kindra Gordon
Do you have an idea that you believe might be a great business? Larry Swain, an ardent entrepreneur who has started 16 different businesses, encourages people with ideas and a passion for business to pursue turning those ideas into income. In addition to his own entrepreneurial endeavors, Swain works with the South Dakota State University Entrepreneurship Program.

Swain says, “...There are lots and lots of opportunities for business.” He shares some of the tip he’s learned to help generate the ideas that may offer an innovative business for the future. Foremost, Swain says is adding value. “Value added is the key – especially in agriculture.” To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Fresh water on demand, 24 hours a day.
Ritchie manufactures a complete line of livestock watering products with the highest specifications in the industry. Ritchie fountains are available in stainless steel, heavy-duty poly or both and backed by a 10 year limited warranty. Contact us at 800-747-0222.

This Week's Tip
Matching milk production and cow size to resources Source: Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska beef specialist
Producers tend to pay attention to cow weight, but new research suggests that milk production by the cow is also worthy of attention. Cow weight is probably easier to wrap your mind around than milk production, but research has shown that cows with the genetic propensity to milk heavily require more nutrients year round, not just when they are milking. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Youth Spotlight
Vote by Dec. 19 for your favorite food production video
Voting in the national Alpharma Student Video Contest is now underway. Anyone can visit the Web site——to view the videos and cast a ballot. Voting ends on December 19, 2008 with the producers of the video with the most votes receiving a $5,000 cash prize. The contest began earlier this fall as ag students from across the country were asked to compile short video clips on anything related to food production. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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It’s a New Day in the Sun! Join your fellow cattle producers in Phoenix, AZ for the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show. January 28th -31st. If you’re in the cattle business you don’t want to miss the largest, most important meeting of the year. For more information or to register visit or call 303-694-0305.

Beef & Business: Getting bulls through the winter and ready for breeding By Jason K. Ahola, University of Idaho Extension beef specialist
With so much time spent catching-up on things during the winter months, it’s not uncommon for producers to put their bulls on the “back burner.” Unfortunately, many bulls are nutritionally forgotten, leading to potential problems the following year. At a time when hay prices at are record highs, it’s possible that some producers might inadvertently underfeed their bulls this winter in order to save some money.

But, proper nutritional management of bulls at this time of year is crucial to success during next year’s breeding season. This is particularly true for thin bulls and young bulls that just completed their first breeding season. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.
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Carcass Ultrasound 101: Is It "Genetic Progress" Or Just Genetic Change? - Part 2 By Patrick Wall, Director of Communications, The National CUP Lab
The previous Carcass Ultrasound 101 article dealt with selection practices used to increase muscle via ultrasound, mainly through the use of Ribeye Area (REA) Expected Progeny Differences (EPD). This article turns to the quality side of ultrasound technology via selection for Percent Intramuscular Fat (%IMF) or marbling.

As breeders, it’s all too easy to establish goals that concentrate on specific traits; the tools to make “progress” are readily available. Unfortunately, the beauty and simplicity of EPDs can also cause breeders to make unwanted changes. It’s important to understand the potential for Mother Nature to humble cattle producers when using technology in mating decisions.

However, a little patience and proper use of all the genetic tools available gives breeders an unequaled opportunity. A more in depth look at carcass quality selection via ultrasound can help breeders avoid some of the unexpected pitfalls. To read the complete article, click on the headline above.

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Table Of Contents
> In The News
> Strategies for Small Producers
> This Week's Tip
> Youth Spotlight
> Nutrition
> Genetics

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